Gunsmoke Blues

Ran into this while listening to a bunch of old blues on YouTube:

During a production hiatus of the popular TV Show "Gunsmoke", the film crew decided to take off and film a barnstorming blues revue making it’s way across the country and they ended up in Eugene, OR, with cameras rolling to film Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner and George "Harmonica" Smith as they performed in a music hall. Date: October 20, 1971.

Big Mama Thornton was the first to record "Hound Dog," made famous by Elvis, and we get to hear her sing it in this video somewhere a bit after the 50-minute mark.

Opening Up the White House Press Briefings to Local News Reporters

Saw this on Ricochet. A recent White House press briefing was set up for Skype and four local newsfolk* who were not in DC were able to ask questions.

This was great. First, it further breaks the monopoly of the national media on the president. Second, it allowed the news people to ask questions about how national policy might influence their local situations. Third, it brought in points of view not often seen in the national media, such as a pro-coal publisher who framed his question in terms of the damage being done to the Kentucky economy by anti-coal regulations.

Wiley at Ricochet has videos set up so you can watch while the questions are asked and answered.


*Technically, one was the publisher of a local paper, not a reporter.

Friday Night AMV

Rockets. Rockets, planes, tanks!

That "Netherlands Second" Video

Apparently there are now a bunch more, as European nations jump on the bandwagon.

They are strangely self-critical, these videos. They seem to be mocking their own patriots almost as much as Trump. At some point, the series becomes a mocking of the idea of patriotism itself.

A Bit of John Lee Hooker to Start the Weekend

Knife Rights in Georgia

The Georgia Legislature is in session. Our friends at Knife Rights are seeking support for a Senate Bill that would alter the definition of a "knife" in Georgia. I'm not sure it's a good idea, though I completely support the right to carry knives of any kind.

SB 49 would change the definition of a knife, for the purposes of a carry permit, from "a cutting instrument designed for the purposes of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than five inches" to "a pointed or sharp-edged instrument consisting of a blade that is greater than 12 inches," with both of them specifying that such a blade has to be attached to a handle. (Is a hatchet now a "knife"? Only if its blade is greater than 12 inches, I suppose. Perhaps an axe is.) There are no laws restricting the carrying of a "knife" per se; rather, a further definition is that a "weapon" means a "knife or handgun," and the law restricts the carrying of a "weapon."

Now, read the code section where this definition would apply.
(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.

(c) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.

(d) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.

(e) Any person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that such licensee shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state.

(f) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.

(g) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law.

(h) (1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless he or she meets one of the exceptions to having such license as provided in subsections (a) through (g) of this Code section.

(2) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon without a license when he or she violates the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
It sounds to me as if the Senate Bill in question narrows the protections of the weapons carry license rather than expands them. As the law stands, with my weapons carry license I can carry a Kabar (8" blade) and it's covered. Under the proposed revision, a Kabar wouldn't be considered a knife. While that is (a) absurd in itself, (b) that means my carry license no longer explicitly licenses me to carry it.

I think the argument is that this would simply eliminate any standard by which knives shorter than 12 inches are barred from being carried. However, it seems to me it would also remove the clarity that the knife I am carrying is specifically authorized by our laws.

I do hope so

I read somewhere last week that Scott Walker was meeting with President Trump to discuss union-busting. Mike Gecan opines in the New York Daily News that the President's opponents are making the same mistakes that Walker's did:
The Trump team is following the Walker playbook, with some variations. Like Walker, it is running aggressive plays right from the start. It doesn’t have to feel out the opponents’ soft spots and tendencies. It knows them.
The difference is that it isn’t just running one play. It’s running a series of them, one right after the other, to keep the defense confused and on its heels.
Second, it’s counting on the opposition to fall into the same trap that the Wisconsin opposition did — to rely on massive demonstrations and to ignore the need to do hard, local, person-by-person organizing back in the local towns, villages and counties.
Trump doesn't seem like a guy who loses sight of the difference between showy and effective actions. If he's showy, it's because he expects to achievable an effect. I supported Walker in the primaries because he'd mastered tactics to achieve his goals, and I was so tired of D.C. Republicans who couldn't seem to navigate their way out of a closet, if indeed they genuinely cared about the goals they claimed to be pursuing. Trump turns out to share a lot of my goals, to my enormous surprise, and I look forward to his implementing them systematically, while his opponents mistake squawking and violence for persuasion and the pursuit of concrete influence.

Fake News

President Trump, after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of Barack Obama, is embracing some key pillars of the former administration’s strategy, including warning Israel to curb construction of settlements, demanding that Russia withdraw from Crimea and threatening Iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests.
I'm sorry, was I supposed to believe that new sanctions on Iran was a "pillar" of the Obama administration's foreign policy? I would have described them as 'something they did their very best to fend off, but finally recognized was going to happen whether they liked it or not.' The Obama administration opposed new sanctions on Iran throughout its second term as it sought its so-called 'deal' with Iran. Iran engaged in multiple ballistic missile tests after the so-called deal, which even the UN viewed as violating the terms of the arrangement.

Nor was this the only way in which Iran violated the so-called 'deal.'

I'm not sure the whole Obama administration had a "pillar" among them. This certainly wasn't one.

The Ship May Have Sailed on That, Sarah

I'm guessing a certain NSW unit is getting chewed today, not that they will probably care all that much.

Rethinking the Probabilities on Harley-Davidson

President Trump meets with Harley-Davidson officials at White House

So, in light of today's very public meeting, I'd have to say the probability of the CNN story being true has declined substantially. It's not impossible that the visit to Harley's factory or museum was in some planning stage and then dropped because of fear of protests. However, this is a very public visit that took some trouble to visually associate their products with the President.

The man had something to say about bikers, by the way.
He greeted the five bikers warmly, saying, “Made in America, Harley-Davidson.”

Mr. Trump added that during the campaign, bikers “were with me all the way.”

But he did not hop on for a ride. Pres. Trump joked to the journalists gathered to watch the welcome: “Boy, would you like to see me fall off one of these!”
Apparently there remains a background issue in that Harley-Davidson has recently outsourced some of its IT work. President Trump didn't make a big deal of it in the photo-op, but there is some reason to think they might have discussed it inside.
About 125 positions were eliminated at Harley-Davidson in the process — and workers who lost their job are now suing, claiming they were discriminated against in favor of South Asian employees.

According to the complaint, most of the workers Infosys brought on had H-1B visas, which are intended for highly skilled fields in which there are a shortage of American workers. But the suit argues that there were plenty of qualified workers available: the ones who just lost their jobs at Harley-Davidson.
"Made in America" is not just about manufacturing jobs. I wonder if it came up. Likely we will know soon.

Up Helly Aa

The Shetlands held a Viking festival. The pictures are amazing.

Quasi-markets in education

I thought Thomas might appreciate this article about the difference between regulating a market and regulating a monopoly.  One of his arguments is that we can use some market tools even in a heavily regulated area, and that the likelihood of a tool's usefulness will alter depending on who exercises the choices and with what degree of freedom.  He makes the interesting suggestion, for instance, that most ventures fail, and that it makes more sense to employ a strict standard on the back-end, in deciding what failed ventures to withdraw public support from, than to regulate strictly what sorts of ventures can be started in the first place.

What kind of conservative is Gorsuch?

AEI is on fire today.  Here is a careful analysis of where Gorsuch is and is not in line with traditional conservative judicial trends.  The bottom line:  "If Gorsuch is confirmed, he is likely to be a vote for deference to state governments and to Congress but not to government agencies." He may be skeptical of the "dormant Commerce Clause" doctrine, as Scalia was; in other words, he may be inclined to support federal control over arguably interstate commerce only where Congress has explicitly occupied the field, not in every area where Congress might conceivably opt to occupy the field someday. Also like Scalia, he is skeptical of government agencies' attempts to usurp the legislative function and might be inclined not to grant them the usual deference when they do so. In these areas he is in line with the most recent developments in conservative judicial theory.

He may be a bit of an outlier, however, in his principled refusal to override state or federal legislative authority in any other areas. That may make him a bit like Justice Roberts: not inclined to rescue voters from the bad effects of their decisions where there is any doubt at all about the Constitutional issue implicated.

Nuts and bolts of deregulation

Here is a fine, detailed article about how federal regulations are made and how they can be unmade.  Not everything achieved by the stroke of a Presidential pen can be instantly undone the same way.  Nevertheless, there are well-understood pathways for clearing out bad regulations, and there are signs that Congress and the White House are well started on their task.

The right way to dissent

Paul Wolfowitz opined in the New York Times (but this link is to AEI) on the delicate problem of disagreeing with your boss in federal service.  He's talking about the State Department, not the DOJ, but it's still interesting.  I wasn't aware of any of his examples of private and public dissent.
Significantly, when a draft of the dissent channel cable objecting to President Obama’s Syria policy leaked to The New York Times last summer, William Harrop, a distinguished career ambassador who strongly believes in the dissent channel, condemned the leak, saying that the Foreign Service officers’ “oath of office is to protect and defend the Constitution, but they are not free to debate publicly with their president.” He added, “If they wanted to go public they should have resigned.”
Another diplomat, Chas Freeman, said at the time that “the channel can only work if it is ‘internal use only,’ i.e., it does not become part of the political diatribe or embarrass the administration.”
Diplomats confronted with an immigration policy that they believe is harmful to national interests should not abuse their government positions to undermine or sabotage the policy, no matter how strongly they feel about it. They do have three courses they can follow in good conscience:
They can seek reassignment to a position that is not affected by the policy, as John Negroponte did in leaving the White House and accepting reassignment to Ecuador after objecting to what he considered a betrayal of South Vietnam; they can continue working to mitigate the effects of a policy they object to, as Ryan Crocker did with extraordinary effectiveness in Iraq; or they can resign and go public with their objections as the Bosnia dissenters did and as Ann Wright did over Iraq and Ambassador Robert Ford did over Syria.
Whether they also have a First Amendment right to go public with their opposition while still serving in official positions is a question that lawyers can no doubt debate for a very long time.

Of Course He Did

Headline: "Trump's Supreme Court pick founded and led club called 'Fascism Forever' at his elite all-boys Washington prep school."

Well, I guess we can stop worrying about that Anthony Kennedy drift.

What Does Reuters Imagine the President Does?

What to make of this silliness?
U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.

As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.
I'm sorry, but what does Reuters imagine the President does in reviewing a proposal for action? Do they think he reads the CONOP? Do they think he personally reviews the ISR for evidence of landmines?

Brigade commanders don't do that. These guys have no idea how this stuff works.

I Am Not a Doors Fan, But

I'll listen to anything John Lee Hooker sings.

Dig it?

Joe McCarthy as an Object Lesson for Trump

Mona Charen over at Ricochet points out that, although it turned out that Joe McCarthy was correct about communists having infiltrated high levels of the US government, the way he went about trying to fix the problem actually discredited his cause. She then argues that Trump should consider that when it comes to how we handle immigration from the Muslim world.

She has some other things to say as well:

The parallel to our times is the Islamist threat. President Trump is right that we face a threat from Islamists. He is right that careful vetting of immigrants, including refugees, is necessary in light of that danger. The worry is that his ham-fisted approach to a delicate problem may wind up discrediting the effort to vet immigrants, alienate our friends in the Muslim world, and empower the self-righteous left.


Alas, instead of stressing that our goal is to separate extremist Muslims from the majority of peaceable Muslims, President Trump’s slapdash executive order showed complete indifference to the distinction. Even green card holders, who have already been vetted and granted the right to live in the United States, were to be stopped at the airport with no notice. Why the rush? Would 48 hours notice have been too much to ask? Translators and military leaders from Iraq and Afghanistan, who had worked with U.S. forces at risk to themselves (and who were badly treated by the Obama administration), were originally offered no dispensation from the blanket order. That’s dishonorable and unwise, as it alienates all Muslims who might be inclined to side with us in a future struggle.
I have to agree with that. I think foreigners who have put their lives on the line for the US deserve to be treated well by us, and I have the sense that they often have not been. In the "no better friend, no worse enemy" formulation, we don't seem to be doing well at either. I hope Trump will correct both sides of the formula.

Solid Point

One problem with hyperbolically calling it a "Muslim ban": you end up with headlines like "Most Americans support Muslim ban."
We had a similar thing happen with the waterboarding and stress-position debate in the Bush administration. Opponents insisted it was "torture." So, that close to 9/11, of course the headlines: "Most Americans support torture."

A Contradiction

A Turkish friend of mine argues, sometimes, that Americans just can't understand that the same Islam we encounter as a persecuted minority in our country is a very different animal in her homeland where it is the majority. For her, and she is far more anti-Islam than any American conservative I know, Ataturk's mistake lay in not finishing the job. The Turkey she grew up in, as a member of the educated and secular elite, has been washed away by the current regime.

This failure of imagination creates a kind of contradiction in the contemporary progressive movement. They have come to see themselves as the heroes of a story about America in which the forces of oppression of minorities have been resisted by a few brave people of good will. As heirs to these few brave people of good will, they inherit a project of moving America away from irrational prejudice against those who are different, and toward a future in which all are treated as genuine equals. This is what they mean when they speak of 'the arc of history,' citing Dr. King, and for many of them it is not a poetic metaphor. It's an article of faith that history really is moving this way, and they are really its heroes.

So, the contradiction my friend is trying to draw: On the one hand, Muslims (here) are a minority exposed to at least sometimes irrational prejudices. On the other hand, Muslims in places like Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and so forth are the major violators of minority rights. To support Islam is, my friend believes, to lay the groundwork for future violations here too as Muslims become stronger and more numerous. Thus, in defending minorities they strengthen the chief enemy of minorities, because it is -- here, for now -- also a minority.

I would like to believe that this is an overstatement, although she has drawn out the contradiction nicely. Certainly I am ready to support any Muslims who are interested in reforming their faith so that this future conflict might be avoided. There are a few different ways in which this might happen, and none of them are at all easy. I'm not under any illusions about how difficult that will be. The theology and history are all against them, as well as what have so far been the best minds of the whole history of their faith. Their task must appear as impossible to us as the task of winning freedom of conscience must have appeared in Christian nations before the 30 Years War. Yet that happened, of course.

In any case, here's another author who makes a very similar argument. She is an atheist, pro-choice, and apparently feminist. She's trying to frame roughly the same point.

It's a good point.

No Grandmothers Died Because of Trump's Order

A woman died, to be sure: but she died before the order was issued, and the pathetic story concocted by her son was a lie.

Philosophically speaking, it hardly matters. Trump's order made possible such a scenario, even if it didn't play out. It's one of the hard problems you take on with that kind of authority: your decisions have unintended consequences, and sometimes they can be awful. You have to bear responsibility for them even though you may never have imagined them.

By sad coincidence we have a real life example of that in the other story about the new President today. He left the White House with no destination announced, apparently shocking lots of people. It turns out he was flying out to meet the body of the Navy SEAL who died in the raid in Yemen, the first military action Trump has ordered. The family requested no publicity, which is hard to make coincide with a Presidential visit, but he somehow made it happen.

So this other thing didn't happen, but it might have; he avoided the guilt of it, but only by accident. This is one reason I've never sought power over the lives of others, only the power to hold my own. It's an awful responsibility.

Dat brier patch

No, please!  Anything but that!

As Ed Morrissey says, this is a proposal that can unite Americans across the political spectrum.

How Big An Influence was SCOTUS on the Last Election?

The Supreme Court was one reason for wavering conservatives to back Trump in November. More Republicans than Democrats said the Supreme Court was a major factor in their vote. Trump has pleased them with this choice.

He has also given himself a rare breath of normalcy in a turbulent first two weeks on the job. Amid continuing chaos over the refugee ban and increased resistance from Democrats to Trump’s Cabinet nominees, picking a well-respected jurist with a solid conservative reputation might be the most traditionally presidential thing Trump has done in office.
The election was close enough that a lot of things might have swung it. Certainly I spoke to people who said that they were single-issue voters this last time around, and that single issue was the Supreme Court. I suspect many people who had serious concerns about Trump nevertheless saw in Clinton's potential election the end of the Constitution as they understood it. If Scalia had still been alive and on the court as a guardian of that Constitution, would it have been enough to swing enough votes to the other side?

By following through on his pledge here, I expect Trump has won himself some ground with any voters who did choose him to protect the Supreme Court. Keeping your word builds credibility, and credibility is the currency. If he keeps doing this, the next time he seeks their vote he might get it on his own account. Of course, he'll have to keep it up.

The Feast of St. Brigid

The stories about St. Brigid as a girl sound surprisingly familiar. She gave her father's stuff away without asking, so he tried to sell her to the king. While he was there negotiating the sale, she appropriated the king's sword and gave it away without his permission.

Brigid died before the founding of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and in fact it's unclear how much of her story can be separated from pre-Christian myths. The story about the cloak, for example, is a commonplace one. Sometimes it's an ox-hide, and the way it gets bigger is by being cut into strips that can then surround a much larger portion of land.


Sounds more like bagpipes than a horn to me, but Heimdallr works in mysterious ways.

Habemus Scotam

He didn't make Trump's list from last summer, but it does look like the President has kept his word to give us a nomination in the mold of Scalia.

UPDATE: Apparently he made the cut in later lists -- see the comments.

Harley Davidson Wimps Out?

It's hard to think of anything more contrary to the brand they've tried to build than not doing what you wanted to do because you're afraid of protests. It'll be fun trying to salvage their reputation after this.

UPDATE: There is some debate about the facts. See the comments.

UPDATE: Due to the events of a few days later, it looks as if the CNN story was 'fake news.'

A Former Operator Writes on Yemen

During a recent raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen, a Navy SEAL was killed. The linked post is in memoriam.

Stop Having Unacceptable Fantasies!

Those modest and moderate souls at PeTA have come up with another winner: ban fur in a fantasy game, in which of course all of the fur is make-believe anyway.

Not that I'm too surprised to discover such an interest in regulating fantasy. Not after Tex's post about "expectant mothers," I'm not. It's pretty clear that they intend for us to live full-time in fantasy worlds, so naturally it is important that they be in charge of regulating such things.

Just An Idle Thought

Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter): Notice that not one leftist panicking over a "coup" or "fascism" has said "Gosh, maybe we should decrease the power of the govt"?

"Betrayed the Department of Justice"?

It's one thing for a President to fire someone who serves at his pleasure but refuses to back his play. It's another thing to use the language of treason in describing her conduct.

Of course, it's easier for me to make this point than for many on the left, given how readily they've resorted to the language of treason aimed at Trump himself. That doesn't make it less wrong in this case.

Or Maybe Not So Divided

If you believe Rasmussen's poll instead of the last one, a solid 57% support Trump on his temporary visa order. Rasmussen reminds us that "These findings have changed little from August when 59% of voters agreed with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on immigration into the United States from 'the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism' until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists."

This is nifty

At Science Alert, report of some interesting materials science advances.  We already knew that metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) switches from a visually transparent insulator to an electrically conductive metal at 152 degrees F. Between 86 and 140F, it also reflects infrared light while remaining visually transparent.

Now we have learned that, when VO2 reaches the temperature at which it switches over to electrical conduction, it remains an unexpectedly bad conductor of heat. Apparently this is because its free electrons move in unison instead of primarily bouncing back and forth. Also, mixing VO2 with other materials adjusts the amount of both electricity and heat that it conducts. These characteristics together suggest that VO2 mixtures can be devised to do things like coat windows, so that they conduct heat in hot weather but insulate it in cold weather; VO2 might also begin to conduct heat away from electric motors after they have been operating long enough to build up heat.

I may have gotten this summary mixed up, particularly which parts follow from the new discoveries and which are old hat.  The linked article is short but worth reading.

Donald "Lizzie" Trump

This from Don Surber:

Donald Trump took an axe
He gave D.C. forty whacks.
When he saw what he had done
He gave another forty-one.
Donald Trump smiled away
Then he chopped off EPA.

Eric Hines


Sebastian Junger, via Steve Sailer, argues that we see so much PTSD now, not because war culture is hard on the psyche, but because American civilian culture is notably lacking in the tribal cohesion and intimacy necessary to mental health.
In Junger’s rather sketchy description, tribal life sounds rather like being in the Army, although with less hierarchy, less marching, and even more gossip. Hunter-gatherers, the most intense form of tribal life, are strikingly egalitarian, constantly forming backbiting coalitions to undermine the confidence of superior hunters to keep the strongest men from monopolizing all the women.
Similarly, Junger notes, humans living under seemingly catastrophic conditions, such as London during the Blitz, his father’s hometown of Dresden under RAF raids, and the besieged Sarajevo he visited as a young reporter, seem to enjoy better overall mental health than peacetime Americans.
I recognize something like this pattern in my own life, as well as in the literature that most appeals to me, but it makes me a bit impatient. Whether people are shooting at you or not, we've been given all the opportunities to band together passionately against misfortune that any creatures could well wish for. We have only to seek the opportunities out, something we're not always so eager to do when an easy, comfortable life is within our grasp. We have no excuse to let our lives become meaningless or empty merely because we're well fed and unusually safe in the context of human history.

Saudis Back Trump's Refugee Plan

Not the immigration part, but the part where the Saudis and the Gulf States pay for Trump's proposed alternative to importing refugees: "safe zones" in Syria and Yemen. (Which, in classic Trump style, he claims the Saudis will pay for.)

How the Government Wrecked the Gas Can

I'm pretty sure we've discussed this exact issue in the past. This article is from 2012, but things have gotten worse since then.

Who Speaks for America? No One.

A significant thrust of the argumentation against Trump's immigration order is that it is in some sense un-American. Oddly the people asserting this are the same people who would tell you, accurately enough, that America has in the past responded exactly the same way to sharp spikes in immigration. This has been true from the Alien and Sedition Acts, to the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to FDR's ban on Germans and Japanese immigration (coupled with internment camps), one would think that this would properly be described as classically American. What they mean to say is that this isn't in accord with the America they want, even if it's an America that has never existed yet, but is hoped for maybe someday. This is mirrored by the occasional longing -- inherent in the cry to 'Make America Great Again' -- for an America that used to exist, but never really did.

My own sense is that America was always and is still the most immigrant-friendly nation on earth, a place where you can really become an American if you want to do so. The reason that there are periodic attempts to put the brakes on is not that America has shifted its core, but that assimilating new members of the society is an organic process that is governed by organic reactions.

You might say that, as a society, we get hungry, we gorge, and then we need to digest. It's a natural reaction by human beings to the introduction of a large amount of change and large number of strangers suddenly showing up in their lives. But it's not about ending immigration, even if that's the way people talk. It's a natural part of the process of handling immigration on the American scale. It may not be aesthetically pleasing to watch, but neither is digestion. Nevertheless, this is why America has been able to absorb all those waves of immigrants in the past, all of whose descendants are simply "Americans."

In any case, I would like to caution against either side presuming to speak for "America" on this point. Mr. Hines linked to a news story about this poll in a comments section below. A slight plurality favors Trump's order, 48/42. The recent election also went slightly for Trump, but only thanks to the Electoral College. Any Trump supporter has to take on board the fact that right at half of the country opposes him. Any Trump opponent has to take on board that right at half of the country supports him. The numbers may even be in flux, so that we can't say that it's a bit more than half for or a bit more than half against: it may be more one day than the next.

These visions of what America ought to look like, versus what it really does look like, are sharply divided. We should be cautious about painting as "un-American" the views of right at half the nation, whichever side we are on.

Otherly gendered pregnancy

Another winner from . . . wait, this isn't from The Onion, either.  The Guardian is seriously quoting the British Medical Association's serious advice about not insulting intersex men and transmen by calling pregnant women "expectant mothers."

Step (1) Men and women are so different from birth that they must inhabit rigidly segregated public spheres, without our checking first to see what any individual is good at or prefers doing.

Step (2) ???

Step (3) Men and women are so identical in every important way that we have to do backflips to avoid assuming that a pregnant human is female, while skipping the step where we ever simply observe which individuals are good at what.

Any excuse, in other words, to keep ordering people around, so people will know we're nice.

Rednecks: A Brief History

The legendary Joe Bob Briggs writes the kind of piece that you can only get away with when you are a self-identified member of the group, who also loves the group you're criticizing.

The history is a little off in places, but just go with it: he's rolling, and he doesn't mean it to be taken completely seriously. Just mostly seriously.

Who Bought 19.5% of a Russian Oil Giant?

An international mystery, so far tracked to Cayman Islands shell companies. A curious business for a number of reasons, as the article explains.

Strangling with the pursestrings

This critique of the punitive or coercive withdrawal of federal funds from cities who refuse to implement federal immigration policy might actually hold water.  If so, I look forward to the reversal of a whole swath of punitive and coercive withdrawals of federal funds from local and state entities who decline to implement federal policy on the subjects of women's football teams, transgendered bathrooms, health insurance, climate youknowwhatwemean, etc.  In fact, let's just eliminate most of the federal funds, lower the tax rates, and let the local and state authorities handle most of the crazy issues that have been vaulted onto center stage during the Silly Season that began several years back.  You know the Silly Season I mean:  the one that spawned the now popular question, "You want more Trump?  Because this is how you get more Trump."

Minorities hardest hit

Oh, no, the threats to Obamacare take on new urgency in the age of climate stuff.  The article's appearance in "The Hill" instead of "The Onion" suggests to me that's not a parody.  If it were, it would lose points for not figuring out how women, ambiguously gendered activists, and peaceful jihadist refugees suffered uniquely from rising sea levels, the spread of Zika virus, or just cognitive strain from dealing with extreme weather events.  Come on, guys, put some effort into it.

A new hope

If food scientists unlock the secret of getting tomatoes back on the market that travel reasonably well and still taste recognizably like tomatoes, I will have renewed faith in America culture (for the first time in my adult life).  I've already had my faith renewed in the ability of a free people to demand and receive commercially distributed bread that's worth eating, though I was raised to believe this was a lost cause.

The scientist in the linked article has forsworn GMO techniques in the interest of avoiding fantastic levels of controversy and therefore expense and delay, which is too bad, but it appears to be possible to achieve the same good results by old-fashioned breeding within a reasonable timeframe.  In the meantime, I rarely bother with large fresh supermarket tomatoes, but I do eat a double handful of "TreeSweet" cherry tomatoes every day, and I've been surprised to find somewhat edible hydroponic large tomatoes for sale as well.  We usually rely on canned tomatoes for cooking.

More on Immigration

Hot Air takes the anti-Trump side of the question, arguing that the Immigration Act of 1965 makes it illegal to use national origin (the Trump order doesn't, in fact, use religion) as a criterion.

However, 8 U.S. Code § 1182 -- current by an act of 2015 -- holds:
(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
This is the sort of thing that courts ordinarily sort out, and I suspect the courts will chew on this one for a while. It may well be that the Congress has passed incompatible laws, which means sorting out which one overrules the other. Still, I expect a vigorous Article II defense from the Trump administration, and even the Supreme Court is only co-equal to the Presidency.

We may be living with this for a while. Good to see that the green card issue, at least, has been sorted out. General Kelly came down on the matter today, and I doubt Trump will buck one of his Marines.

UPDATE: Looks like Trump's base is in no way shocked by this move, as you'd expect given that he campaigned on this for like nine months. One expects that the Quebec mosque shooting will underline the point of wanting to check immigrants carefully -- at least one shooter was from Morocco, which isn't even on Trump's list.

With that plus the pending SCOTUS nomination, the politics of this may settle down. The courts can then do their work in peace.

UPDATE: The Intercept says that the widespread reports that the shooter was Moroccan are false.

UPDATE: The Quebec police now believe the one shooter acted alone, with what news reports are describing as 'two rifles and an AK-47.' I assume they don't know why that's a strange thing to say. Apparently he is a nationalist, which in Quebec means having an intensely French identity.

Oh No, Retaliation

Who Armed ISIS?

Obama and Clinton, says Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She's an Iraq War vet, by the way.

Legal, But Wise?

I don't doubt that Andrew C. McCarthy is right when he says that Trump's exclusion order for terror-involved countries is legal. There is plenty of precedent, even among liberal icons like Obama (who closed the Iraqi refugee program for six months in 2011), Carter (who barred Iranians during the hostage crisis), and FDR (who used an EO to bar Japanese and German immigration to the United States). Trump is clearly within well-established Constitutional norms even for modern Democratic presidents.

On the other hand, it's striking to me that the order permits Saudis but not Lebanese. Yes, Hezbollah is from Lebanon, but al Qaeda is from Saudi Arabia if it's from anywhere. I have read that the list of countries was put together by the Obama administration, but clearly the two biggest sources of terror -- if we're honest -- are Iran and Saudi Arabia, with radicals in Iraq and Syria being largely proxies of these actors.

The opposite side of the order is that it bars people from certain countries even if they are green card holders, Kurds who have been fighting ISIS, people who have demonstrated a commitment to the United States by working with us as interpreters, and so forth.

I get that the order is quite temporary, pending better vetting methods for the most part. It's also much less radical than its opponents are suggesting. It certainly isn't a "Muslim ban," and indeed doesn't even target a number of Islamic countries with large Islamist terrorism problems (e.g., Pakistan and Turkey). Countries like Egypt and Indonesia, which have large Muslim populations and terrorist groups but also governments that are pretty committed to managing them, are also untouched.

Some of the criticism is therefore unwarranted. Still, the order is both too wide and too narrow in different respects. What is the right course of action for us as citizens at this juncture? Should we urge our representatives and Senators to push for an alteration in the policy?

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the order, for the lawyers among us.

UPDATE: Priebus walked back the green card ban today, which is the most obviously wrong part of the ban.